In several countries of the Latin American region, the projection and growth of multiple FinTechs that promise to continue with the financial evolution and provide more tools for clients and investors stand out. Kimberly Rosales, an expert in the FinTech world, discusses the growth of this sector in Latin America.
The FinTech industry has managed to adapt to the different dynamics that have emerged in recent years. Particularly in Latin America, it has positioned itself as one of the regions in the world with the greatest boom in entrepreneurship in this sector.
According to the latest data from last year, the number of FinTechs in Latin America and the Caribbean was estimated at more than 2,300, with a growth of more than 85% compared to five years ago. This mostly belonged to the payments, remittances, or lending segment.
As a region with rising internet penetration, but still, with high coverage to improve, new financial technology companies have found a market to provide new financial solutions to, composed of a population that is not fully banked, but online for financial inclusion.
Moreover, as the world recovers from the pandemic, banking and financial services are facing new disruption from FinTech and “neobanks.” The latter with competitive costs and a different approach, driven by technology to offer better customer service, has achieved 36% growth in the number of companies and 24% growth in sales, between 2017 and 2020.
Rosales indicates, “In Latin America, the countries with the highest concentration of FinTechs are also the largest economies in the region in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) and population. I am referring to Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia. In 2021, FinTech investment exceeded $15 billion, which represented an increase of more than 250% versus 2020.”
This was higher than the previous seven years combined and triple the previous record of $4.9 billion recorded in 2019. In fact, Mexico and Brazil alone account for 85% of the value of venture capital investments in initiatives of this type. In this regard, startups such as Konfio, Credijusto, and Clip stand out in Mexico, with figures in excess of $100 million in fundraising during investment rounds, while in Brazil, Nubank, RecargaPay and Vórtx stand out.
“The financial services industry has also experienced a massive increase in the use of digital banking caused by the pandemic and its aftereffects,” explains Rosales. “For institutions with a healthy infrastructure, this was very positive, whether in high-net-worth advisory or remote banking. It also showed the centrality of high-quality digital banking user experience for today’s customers.”
Neobanks and FinTechs have proven to be nimbler thanks to having lower technology costs and offering the interfaces and functionality that younger consumers and businesses want. They also have investors backing them, as shown by the Nubank success story, but also for others such as Clip and Bitso in Mexico, dLocal in Uruguay and C6 and Ebanx in Brazil. These startups raised significant investment rounds last year.
FinTech and neobanks must have a compelling value proposition to attract consumers and generate significant revenues. They must also encourage alliances with large financial institutions in each country, a situation that is led by Latin American leaders such as Bradesco, Bancolombia, Banorte, and Banco de Chile, among others. All this process is taking place at the same time as the sources of financing and players who see an opportunity for growth in this sector continue to increase.
Thus, this dynamic financial sector is expected to continue its boom and is expected to exceed 380 million users by 2025. This is also a consequence of the need for better financial solutions that are accessible and easy to manage.
Also, because the digital infrastructure in Latin America still has room for improvement and it is necessary to overcome cost barriers in a continent of diversity, latitude, and longitude, something in which technology and the development of new trends brought by the FinTech industry can be very useful.